More than 20 campers have been charged after significant fire damage and littering was seen in a beauty spot.

The first weekend, after the five-mile travel restrictions were lifted, saw irresponsible campers flocked to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. 

Broken glass, bin bags of rubbish and sleeping bags were left littered across the park. 

In some areas, irreparable fire damage was caused to trees and the ground. It is understood in one area a street may need to be felled after suffering fire damage. 

A shocking 19 bags of litter were collected from a single site, with another site wielding a further 10.

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HeraldScotland:

It comes as lockdown guidance has yet to approve camping - provisionally set to be allowed from July 15.

A total of 21 campers have been charged under the Camping Management Byelaws 2017. 

The byelaws, covering areas of the national park, dictate zones in which people can only camp in a campsite or a pre-booked camping permit areas. 

They are enforced by both National Park Rangers and Police Scotland and can result in a £500 fine. 

Chief executive of the national park, Gordon Watson, said: "It’s devastating to see the images of the of litter and damage caused by people camping over the weekend.

"Not only is this irresponsible behaviour and environmental damage a blatant breach of the byelaws, it is also happening at a time when the national guidance is that people shouldn’t be going camping at all.

“While I can understand people’s desire to get out and enjoy the outdoors after such a long time being in lockdown I cannot understand why anyone would think it’s ok to destroy the place they’ve visited in this way. We cannot replace nature easily, or at the speed we are seeing it destroyed."

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HeraldScotland:

He added: "It’s infuriating for those living in the local communities in the National Park to see this kind of behaviour on their doorstep and it’s incredibly frustrating for the National Park Authority, and in particularly our Rangers who come across these scenes, to have to divert valuable time and resources to cleaning up the mess left behind by others, especially right now when we want to be focusing all of our efforts on ensuring people can return to enjoy the National Park safely.

“The message is clear, people should not be camping right now and we are working extremely closely with our partners in Police Scotland to take action against this type of damaging behaviour when we need to.”

Chief inspector Gill Marshall said: "Between Friday, July 3 and Sunday, July 5 2020, a total of 21 people were charged with breaches of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Camping Management Byelaws.

“These offences related to the setting up of unofficial camps, setting fires, and causing damage to the environment, including fire damage to trees which occurred across South Loch Earn, Loch Venacher and the Loch Ard area. There were also unacceptable levels of littering.

“We want everyone to enjoy the experience of the National Park and this has been the case for the majority.   Unfortunately, a small number of visitors have failed to respect the local environment and community.

“We will continue to work tirelessly with our colleagues in the National Parks to address these issues through joint patrols and would urge members of the public to report any instances of antisocial behaviour or other offences they see while visiting the Park.

The provisional date for the reopening of the National Park campsites is July 17.